Our body needs energy, and this energy comes from food. There are various food choices that we make everyday. Healthy diets help our body get all the required nutrients and help it function well. Our body derives these important nutrients as it cannot produce them on its own. Good food choices also reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as blood pressure, heart disease, cancers, stroke, osteoporosis etc. These diet fight against obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The important nutrients that our body needs are-
- Amino acids
- Fatty acids
Carbohydrates, proteins and fats supply energy measures in calories.
A healthy diet is the one that provides essential nutrients to the body and prevents excess. These are the right balance of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) gives us the amount of nutrients that are sufficient to meet the needs of a healthy body. Some of the important dietary guidelines are-
Vary the food you eat- There is no single food that can supply all the nutrients required by the body. Each food group is important for a healthy diet.
Women and growing children need more calcium for healthy bones. The good way to get enough calcium without getting more fat is to choose fat free or low fat dairy products.
It is advisable to go for enriched or fortified foods. These products have several nutrients added in extra amounts.
Burn more calories than eat everyday. So, it is important to choose a healthy diet and have a regular exercise routine. Maintain a natural balance between physical activity and food intake.
Foods that are high in calories are usually low their nutritional value. Avoid foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These trans fats are not good for the body.
Minimize your salt intake. Instead, you can use the seasonings of various flavors.
Enjoy a variety of nutritious foods everyday and make sure that this food is well handled and safe to eat. It will meet all the nutritional needs of your body.
Limit the use of fats and sugar as much as possible.
Try to maintain a healthy weight. Sedentary lifestyles have made this a difficult task these days. Try to be more active throughout the day and eat a well balanced diet.
Remember that not all fats are bad. Some fats are good as they are the main source of energy and allow the absorptions of Vitamins A,D,E and K. But, it is also important to keep the level of these fats and cholesterol low else they can cause heart disease and cancer.
Alcohol has calories but no nutrition value. It fills you with calories and deprives your body of essential nutrients which may adversely affect your health. It is advisable to limit the intake alcoholic beverages.
Stay away from the drinks that are loaded with sugar. These might have some nutrition but coupled with large number of calories. Instead, take fresh juice or still better, fresh fruits.
Limit intake of processed foods- The process of refining robs many important nutrients and natural compounds from the foods which are present in the whole food. Foods are refined to increase their shelf life. At the same time, some chemicals are also added for preservation and add flavor. Processing also breaks down the food. This leads to faster absorption of sugar and starches and more fluctuations in blood sugar.
Drink plenty of clean water. It helps body naturally detoxify.
Take dietary supplements- These supplements are not the substitute for a good diet. They just complement the daily diet you take.
Animal proteins build up the uric acid and other toxin in kidneys. Kidneys can handle some amount of these toxins but not in larger amounts. It is hence important to limit the intake of animal proteins so that your body is not deprived of essential dietary amino acids.
Stay away from refined carbohydrates. Instead, fill up your stomach with fresh fruits and vegetables. At the same time, eat variety of colors of fruits as they give your different nutritional support from phytochemicals.
Many of us take only vegetarian diet which is of plant origin. Major sources of iron, zinc and B vitamins are meat, poultry and fish. Vegetarian should pay special attention to get these nutrients, these nutrients should form our dietary guidelines.